Most viruses, including herpes, cause both active infections and also hide within the body for long periods of time, causing no immediate infection but can strike again whenever resistance is lowered. The latent infections thus pose repeated problems for those infected.
Based on findings of a recent study researchers say a compound found in licorice is showing promise as a treatment for a form of the herpes virus that lingers in the body. For the study researchers tested the ability of the licorice compound glycyrrhizic acid ( GA ) to kill cells infected with the latent form of the herpes virus that causes Kaposi sarcoma, a disease characterized by tumors under the skin's surface that often afflicts people with HIV and AIDS.
Results of the study showed that GA killed the cells in which the latent virus was living by targeting key proteins involved in the latency. The treatment worked without causing toxic effects to the tissue. Though many new drugs are available to treat active herpes infections, but little treatment exists for latent infections. Researchers say they believe that the results of their study may pave the way for new drugs aimed at eradicating herpes from the body altogether.